Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Best Unexpected Graphics Tool



This is for you fellow bloggers out there.  I'm guest posting today at Homeschool Blogging about my very favorite graphics tool.  The best part is that you probably already have it on your computer!  Here's a teaser, and then hop over to Homeschool Blogging to read the rest!

I have often seen beautiful photos on people's blogs, with great looking captions, and adorable buttons on their sidebars, and assumed that I could never create these without the use of a fancy program.  I am the type of person who likes to work with what I've got, not spending money unless I absolutely have to, so I decided to play around with what I already had at my disposal.  Turns out, you don't need a fancy program after all!

I am embarrassed to even admit that I use this program.  It has been around since what feels like the beginning of time, or at least the beginning of computers.  It's buried under the 'Accessories' folder in your 'Start' menu.  Maybe you have guessed it by now...

Head on over to Homeschool Blogging to see what it is and how you can use it to make your blog look great!

Happy Designing!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #34

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized most of the posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

My feature for the week is going to be Shakespeare for Christians? from Barb over at Harmony Art Mom.  Often times, even in the Christian community, we take what is given to us, or recommended to us, or included in our curriculum without critically thinking about whether it is good for us and pleasing to God.  Barb takes a good look and shares her candid opinions with us about reading Shakespeare.  I appreciate her thoughts on the matter, and you should definitely read them if you are approaching reading or watching Shakespeare with your children! (Don't worry, she doesn't say to drop it from your studies =)

Speaking of Barb, make sure you take a minute to enter the giveaway I have going on this week for her Harmony Fine Arts curriculum!  If you have been blessed by the posts she always links up here at Trivium Tuesdays like I have, I know you would love this giveaway!

Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Harmony Fine Arts Giveaway!


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It has been my privilege over the past few months to get to know Barb from Harmony Fine Arts.  She has been a faithful contributor to Trivium Tuesdays here at Living and Learning at Home each week and through that I have gotten to be encouraged and inspired by her posts!  While on her blog, I noticed that she has a fine arts curriculum.  I had been eying it for a while, so when she offered me a copy to use and review, and another to giveaway, I was so excited!


A Little Bit About It


First off, Harmony Fine Arts is a curriculum that incorporates both viewing great art pieces and listening to great music and she has a curriculum for each year of your child's schooling.

What I love most is that it is designed to go along with your history studies.  Each grade's curriculum goes along with a particular time period, cycling through again as your child grows.  Each one has a suggested grade, but just jump in at whichever time period you are studying.

  • Grade 1 - Overview
  • Grade 2 - Medieval and Renaissance
  • Grade 3 - Late Renaissance to Early Modern Art
  • Grade 4 - Modern Times
  • Grade 5 - Ancient Art and the Orchestra
  • Grade 6 - Medieval and Renaissance
  • Grade 7 - Late Renaissance to Early Modern Art
  • Grade 8 - Modern Era
  • High School Music and Art Plans

Harmony Fine Arts compiles lots of art and music pieces into a logical order of study and then offers many resources and ideas for how to study and learn from the pieces.  I love this quote from the website:

Harmony Fine Arts plans organize great art and music appreciation resources into the classical four-year cycle of history and seasons each week with a Charlotte Mason flavor.


What I Love About It


I know nothing about fine arts.  I hate to admit that, but it was sadly just not a focus in my education growing up.  I love that Harmony Fine Arts takes care of that!  I would not know where to begin or what to look for when teaching my children about the fine arts.  This curriculum brings so many pieces together and shares so many options of study which is wonderful!

I also love that it is not a scripted type of curriculum.  I always really enjoy freedom and flexibility when I teach my children.  I love getting ideas from other people, but implementing them the way that I want to.  This is exactly what Harmony Fine Arts offers.  Each curriculum is 32-36 weeks long, but you can really do as little or as much of it as you want.  Each lesson has three options, (and resources to go along with each) but you can choose to do just one or study a particular piece more in depth and do all three. 

I love that each art and music piece is linked to a place on the internet where you can view or listen to it.  This makes life so much easier!   There are also select pictures of art included right in curriculum.  You certainly could purchase art books to view the pieces and CDs to listen to the music, but you don't have to!  I have just been printing put the pieces as we go along, but you could even just have your children look at the art on the computer or an e-reader.

Perhaps my most loved aspect of Harmony Fine Arts is that is that it fits right in with the classical model of teaching.  I love to fit as many subjects as possible in with our history spine, so it makes perfect sense to study the art and music from the time period of history that you are studying.  Now, you could spend hours and hours researching this all yourself, finding appropriate artists and composers, finding examples of their work, making notebooking pages, and coming up with activities to go along with each one, but you don't have to because it has been done for you!  And for the very reasonable price, it is quite worth it!


How We Use It


When Barb (the creator of Harmony Fine Arts) first asked me about reviewing this curriculum, I was hesitant because my oldest child is only 4.  I didn't know if it would be appropriate for us at this time, but she pointed me to a few posts on her blog about using the curriculum with younger children and so I decided to give it a try!  Here is an example of how we have been using the Grade 1 - Overview curriculum.


First I have him  observe the picture.  We talk about the title and artist.  I encourage him to tell me about everything he is seeing.  We talk about the colors, subjects, feelings, etc.  Then I have him (and little sister, who always likes to be a part of what we are doing!) color in a coloring page version of the picture.  I have sometimes had him try to do this from memory and other times just by copying from the original.  At his age, I'm mostly just trying to help him take care that his actually trying to color in particular places instead of just scribbling wherever.  He doesn't color the entire thing completely, but he does a good job picking out things to color in.




Next, I print out one of the notebooking pages.  This time I take the picture out of his site and have him tell me about it.  At his age, I am mostly looking for complete sentences and ideas that are relevant to the subject matter.  Sometimes I help him formulate his thoughts, but usually I just copy what he tells me.  He is always thrilled to hear me read what to him what he has dictated =) I could have him write this himself, but I know about how much his hand can take and don't want make him discouraged just because I'm forcing him to do too much pencil gripping!

After we write our description, I have him try to draw what he remembers of the picture.  This is difficult for him, but I have seen him improve which is encouraging =)  Drawing isn't his favorite thing, so I do not expect intricate pictures, just enough to see that he is using his brain to remember what he looking at.




Then I put it into a binder so we can remember what we have learned!  I really enjoy this process.  I love that it stretches his brain to pay attention and remember what he has seen.  I love that it encourages him to think of descriptive words and put them together into sentences.  We do not always complete this in one day, sometimes we come back to it on another day to finish it up.  And remember, this is just one example of how we have chosen to use Harmony Fine Arts.  Depending on the age and interests of your children, you could do like we have done, modify it, or choose one of the other options of study!


How You Can  Get It


If this looks like something that would benefit your family, there are a few ways that you can try it for yourself!

First, make sure that you enter the giveaway below to win a complete year's curriculum for yourself!  You can choose the year that would be of most use to you.

Next, you can try lots of different freebies that are offered at Harmony Fine Arts.  You can view sample pages from each of the years.  If you have a child in the Rhetoric stage, you can download select ebooks completely for free (9th grade music appreciation10th grade music appreciation, 11th grade music appreciation, 12th grade music appreciation, and 12th grade music appreciation.)  You can also find lots of great ideas and freebies on her blog and pinterest pages.

Also, if you would like to purchase something from Harmony Fine Arts, from now until December 10th you can use discount code "Living and Learning" to get 25% off your order!  (If this code gives you any trouble, please let me or Barb know and we will get it worked out for you.)


Now for the giveaway!  One winner will be chosen and will receive the curriculum year of their choice in ebook format.  Simply leave a blog post comment (and click "I commented!" on the Raffelcopter below) to enter, and make sure to follow me and Harmony Fine Arts in other ways to increase your entries!

This giveaway is over.  Thanks to all who entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Speech



We've come a long way...and not in a good way.

Here is what George Washington had to say when he proclaimed an official Thanksgiving Day"

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.  Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.  --George Washington

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #33

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized most of the posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

I was out of town for half the week last week, so I didn't manage to get anything fantastic written about classical education on my blog, but I was encouraged by what all of you shared last week!  Here are two of my favorites...check them out if you missed them last week!



Golden Grasses wrote a great post about Teaching Writing, but not in the way you might think.   She talks about reading aloud, memorizing poetry, foreign language, and more!  It was very encouraging to me and I'm sure it will be to you as well!



triviumpursuitbutton
Trivium Pursuit talked about Delayed Formal Math in their post from last week.  This is a very counter-cultural idea, but it is interesting!  What about you?  Do you start your kids with a formal math program right away or do you delay math?  Go over and read Trivium Pursuit's article and leave your feedback in their comments section!



Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway


(This giveaway has ended.  To see the winners, click here.)

Have you started thinking about buying Christmas Gifts yet?  Maybe the bigger question is, do you know how your are going to pay for them?  Well, lucky for you, this week you have a great opportunity to WIN CASH and other great prizes from some of us at the iHomeschool Network!

I love that you can use this money to buy just about anything that you want.  Maybe your family is in a tight spot this year and you could use this money to buy some essentials.  Maybe you know of a family who could use an unexpected blessing of gifts from you.  Or maybe this would just enable you to buy gifts for your family without incurring any debt.  Whatever your reason, please enter for the chance to win these great prizes (especially the 2 grand prizes of $250)!

What kinds of things are you thinking of buying this year?  Here are some that I'm looking at (and giving as ideas to family members!)...

 

Pretty dress up clothes for my little girl - 


PhotobucketLittle Adventures Red Winter Beauty Dress

 
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Little Adventures Pink Fairy Tutu

 

 

 

 

 

Fun and Fine Motor for all the preschoolers - 


Photobucket My First Sticky Mosaics® Vehicles

 Photobucket Melissa & Doug Large Shapes Jumbo Puzzle

 

 

Thomas the Train accessories for my son - 


PhotobucketTrain Table
 PhotobucketRoundhouse

 

 

Energy burners for the long winter months -


PhotobucketTrampoline
PhotobucketBeam
PhotobucketIncline Mat


 

Decorations for the kid's new rooms - 


PhotobucketOwl Bedding Set  (and accompanying decor)
PhotobucketBlast Off! Growth chart (and accompanying decor)


Just follow the directions below to enter!  Leave a comment for your first entry and then find some fantastic other bloggers to follow for extra entries!

I can't wait for one of you to be blessed with this money!


 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Brought to you by the lovely ladies at the following blogs:




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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #32

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized most of the posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

I just loved reading A Bundle of Sticks from Keeping Life Creative on last week's link-up.  Pamela and her husband were trying to think of ways to help their children not bicker and they came up with a great way to apply an old Aesop's Fable.  I love using those old texts, and pairing one with a hands-on lesson is even better =)  Take a minute to check out her post if you missed it last week!  Thanks, Pamela, for the great idea!



Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!



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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Tree 2012

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For the past two years, we have made a Thanksgiving Tree.  Originally I made a tree out of cardboard and cut out intricate leaves to staple on.  I loved that tree but after two years of use and (not so careful) storage, we had to say good-bye to it.  This year my son is pretty capable with scissors, so I knew that I wanted him to help cut the leaves out, and I also knew that I wanted the tree to look different than before (just for a change) so we went a completely different route.


 How to Make It


First we went into the yard to gather twigs and stuck them into a fall looking vase that I had lying around the house.  The kids had a fun time romping around in the leaves finding the sticks =)

Then we came inside and I traced a bunch of circles onto construction paper.  I knew that my four year old couldn't handle an intricate leaf pattern, so I thought circles would be best.  Plus, I knew that they wouldn't come out as perfect circles anyways, so they would look a bit more leafy because of that.  We had to take a few different sessions to cut all the circles out since there were so many of them.  I had full intentions of helping with the cutting, but Trevor really seemed to enjoy it so I let him do it.

Next, we sat down to brainstorm things that we are thankful for.  This is a hard thing for little kids.  They kept just saying things that were around them (I'm thankful for...paper, windows, etc.) so I had to give them some ideas and help them think outside the box.  We wrote one thing on each leaf, hole punched them (probably the most enjoyable part for the kids!) and stuck them on the sticks.


How to Use It


Every night the kids each take a leaf down and we talk about that thing/person and then pray and thank God for it/them.  If it is a person, I have Trevor write a simple note to them saying that he is thankful for them.  If it is a thing, we stick the leaf on a piece of paper on the refrigerator (that I drew a simple tree on) so we can remember the things we have talked about.  I think it will be neat to look back at that paper years from now to see the kinds of things the kids thought to be thankful for at 2 and 4 years old.

If you want to see another tree design, or want a printable leaf template and an "I am Thankful for You" copywork page to give to the people you are thankful for, check out my post from last year!

What kinds of ways do you practice being thankful at this time of year?



Monday, November 5, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #31

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized most of the posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

Today I am featuring Making a Mosaic Project Together from Barb over at Harmony Art Mom.  Barb always gives a great glimpse into real-life homeschooling.  In this post she shares with us a few projects that she did with her son when they studied Ancient Greek history.  I love that she sits down and does these projects with her son even though he is high school aged!  She also shows us a page from her Ancient Art Appreciation ebook.  We're using one of her ebooks right now, and I can't wait to use this one once we get to studying the ancients again!


Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I reserve the right to remove any link-up that does not have to do with classical homeschooling.         If you are a regular here at Trivium Tuesdays and have something to share that is a little off topic, but still would be an encouragement to the readers here, please still share it =)  I'm referring to people who are just trying to get their blog more exposure without following the rules above.

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!



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Genesis Copywork - Beginner



I'm excited to add another copywork ebook to the site!  I'm hoping to add many more in the coming months.  I'm actually starting another site for just copywork.  It is still in-the-process, but if you'd like to take a look at it, check out Classical Copywork.

Each of the copywork pages in this ebook is a verse from a chapter in the book of Genesis (ESV Bible).  There is one verse for each chapter, a total of 50 pages of copywork.  This copywork is designed for a beginning writer.  The lines are about 5/8th inch tall with a mid-line to help your child position their letters correctly.

These pages would work perfectly as an accompaniement to your ancient history studies.  They would also be great to take to church if you will be hearing preaching from the book of Genesis.  Children who are not old enough to take their own notes can copy a verse from the chapter they are hearing about.  Lastly, they would also be great just as handwriting practice for any child who needs it!

I would like to note that some of these verses are not complete.  Only a certain amount of words can fit on a page with this larger type.  I have tried to pick sections that fit the point of the particular chapter.

Copywork is a fantastic way to help your child master reading, penmanship, grammar, and spelling all at the same time, simply and subtly.

These pages are designed to be printed out for your child to write on.

Sample Pages: (click on an image to enlarge it)



$1.00 - 50 copywork pages

To purchase, please visit Classical Copywork!

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